The 2016 Tembisa Streetmile is on our doorstep and Olympian Anel Oosthuizen will strut her almost-flawless technique in the women’s Streetmile race walk event. The twenty-one year old multiple South African race walk record holder will line up as a favourite to win and possibly break the women’s Streetmile race walk record. I had the opportunity to catch up with her.

Reginald Hufkie (RH): There are talks that you will be doing the 2016 Tembisa Streetmile, is it true? If yes, why the decision to compete in the shorter distances?

Anel Oosthuizen (AO): I love the vibe at events like these and to walk a good 20km, you must walk a good 10km; therefore the shorter and faster distances are much-needed. I am really grateful that there is race walking at the Tembisa Streetmile, because race walking is scarce at events like these.

RH: Tembisa is one of South Africa’s biggest townships. What would it mean for you as an Olympian to compete in the streets of Tembisa?

AO: I think it’s great that the race is hosted in a place that is so ‘rich’ in history. It gives the people of Tembisa the opportunity to compete in the different races and it gives us, the athlete, the opportunity to see how the people of Tembisa live.

RH: From a different perspective, is competing at the Tembisa Streetmile a big opportunity for you to give back to the community? If yes, why is it so important for you to give back?

AO: Definitely, all of us know that our country is not perfect and there are a lot of areas in which we can improve. This, however, does not take away my love for our beautiful country. I grew up with so many people around me who have supported and is still supporting me; I never would have made it without them. Giving back to the community, therefore, is my way of thanking everyone’s support throughout the years.

RH: Is it the goal to get another record behind your name?

AO: There are quite a few records that I still want. Two of them are: Susan Vermeulen’s 10km record and the South African 3000m record. It’s definitely my goals for next year!

RH: And lastly, what are your plans for next weekend’s Tembisa Streetmile?

AO: To go out and enjoy myself. I think I focused on the Olympics a lot this year, so with behind me, it’s time to have some fun. My goal in any race, whether big or small, is to give my best, so I will go out, give my best and enjoy.

Can Anel add the South African mile record to her name on the flat-and- fast Tembisa Streetmile next weekend? You will have to come and see for yourself!